Friday, March 26, 2010

Reinventing the Calendar

**Submitted by Corinne, who blogs at Trains, Tutus and Teatime

This past weekend felt like summer. Sunshine, warm breezes, highs in the 70's. My husband and I hit the beach with the kids, and the only thing missing was the scent of SPF 30.

Until our drive home. And then it hit me.

There will be no margarita's this summer. No sangria. No white wine on restaurant decks soaking up the sun along with an easy buzz.

Those facts hit me like a bullet through the heart.

I've heard the first year is the hardest. All of the firsts without alcohol. Holidays, changes of seasons, back to school, ups, downs, vacations and 52 Mondays. I'm almost two months in, and the first month wasn't as bad as I expected. It was filled with boosts of confidence from friends and family, self indulging hours spent journaling and pondering, taking hot baths and eating dark chocolate. But somewhere around day 40 or so things started to get back to normal.

Except I felt like I was redefining my normal. All of a sudden, because children call and dinner needs to be made. Sheets don't clean themselves and neither do toddlers. So back to work.

And that's hard. Because when I'm busy, I will sometimes forget for moments - even hours at a time. I'll forget about the whole alcoholism thing. And then I question whether there was a problem at all. But there was. There is. There will always be.

It's living with a void. Kind of like moving on with life after a loved one dies. The first month, two months, are painful. Raw, unavoidable, but you're given time to grieve. You're expected to grieve. And then you move on. You live with the void he or she has left behind, and somehow the impossible happens. They are not on your mind every moment. Hours will pass where you don't feel the pang of grief in your stomach. But it still hits you, sometimes unexpectedly, and sometimes you fall to your knees in grief. In mourning. Because on some level you'll always mourn for the loved one.

This year, I'm in mourning. I'm mourning the trip to Napa Valley my husband and I always talked about taking {because really, that would now be torture...} I'm mourning champagne in France and margarita's at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

It's necessary. It's my way of coping, of living my life without my friend. And with every milestone, every day that goes by, I know that next year I will look back and think one year ago, I got through the day, I was sober.

And with each day, I am reinventing my calendar, my life.


  1. Congrats on two months, that is awesome!

  2. Corinne -you're doing amazing. And I know you are going through ups and downs, strong days and weak days but know you are an inspiration to everyone. Congratulations on your fantastic achievements so far. xo

  3. I know what you mean. Even the simplest things like a favorite tv show you used to enjoy with a couple glasses of wine. You're doing an amazing job and I'm so proud of you. You're also creating a year of firsts that the new sober you will enjoy and remember for years to come. Your strength helps keep me strong. xo

  4. I am right there with you 100%. I still grieve at times for moments I am unable to share with my family now that I am sober. No more hitting the town with my sister. No super fab party in Vegas my brother and I have planned since he was 18 to celebrate his 21st in style. No more margaritas to ring in the summer. Thankfully, we have so much to gain and so many new memories (that we will remember! by the way) thanks to our sobriety. Keep on keepin' on!

  5. As everyone above has said, you ARE doing great. You are strong and you have such a great outlet in your writing. The selfish times do not have to end. Yes, your life has to get back to normal, however - for me at least - I found that I was able to let go of a lot of "my shit" (as my therapist likes to call it). My crazy thought that everything had to be perfect in the house before I could even rest or take me time - I've let that go (mostly). Feeling guilty about wanting or needing me time? I'm letting that go too (again, mostly). Now that you're not blurred daily by alcohol, you'll find that you can listen to your body, and mind, and KNOW when you do, truly, need me time. Time out. Remember to take them, please. :)

    I was told the same thing, that the firsts were hard. Some were not, some were excruciating. Keep staying aware, girl. Soon enough those 1sts will be over and done, and probably NOT missed like baby firsts. ;)

  6. I think your analogy to losing a loved one is dead on. The mourning and learning to live without it/them, but also the part where as time marches forward some of the support you get from those around you might wane. That is one of the many reasons it is important to keep sharing with people in recovery - we know every day what a kick ass job you are doing.

    Also we never did Napa (sniffle) either or (weeping openly) Ireland and now really there is no point.

  7. You're in mourning, Corinne, but you've chosen life -- life for yourself and your family. We're praying.

  8. Last July we bought our first house. It has a pool. We only wanted to buy one with a pool (super HOT summers), and I got 2 months last year to really "party" poolside. BBQs, pool parties, etc. This year, it is my biggest fear and disappointment that I have to go all summer SOBER. No margaritas, no coronas, nothing. I know on the actual day in July or August that we hold a party, I will get through it just fine. It just sucks looking ahead to the future, knowing it will never be a drinking party for me again.

    I soooooo get your comparison, and it hits me like a ton of bricks out of the blue all of the time. Never again? NEVER EVER AGAIN?

    I am taking all of these steps right alongside of you. We can do this, right? :):):)

  9. Oh Corinne & Robin, you can do this. One step, maybe even one a toe, at a time. You'll have life in full. Present, aware, engaged. Remembered. You are choosing life. :)

  10. Corinne, how I can relate! I said just the other day that I am sort of dreading summer because I won't be having my favorite vodka lemonades, margaritas, and nice cold pinot on Sunday afternoons with fresh fruit from the farmer's market. It's sad to me, and sad that it's sad. Sigh.

    Life is better sober though, 100 times already but it still hurts a bit I know.

    You are doing great. Thanks for this post. It helps to know I'm not alone in this.

    xx c

  11. I think the mourning is so important. Maybe just as important (?) is taking time to make new firsts, new memories, to carry you through all the old associations that are so difficult. And keep taking time for yourself!

  12. It does hurt. I'm sure it makes no sense to someone who is not an alcoholic, to grieve booze like a friend, a person. But I am, too. At least it's grief in its own way. I can hardly think about summer without it. Sad, but true.

    Love this post.

  13. Corinne, you explain it so clearly. I have told you this before, but your ability to describe what you feel, what you're going through, your emotions, all of it helps those of us who haven't been there learn how we can help and empathize. So thank you for that. And know that there are so many rooting for you, so many who will try to help make the changes in your life less painful.

    xoxo elizabeth

  14. Corinne, what a wonderfully written description of the process of leaving drinking behind. Grieving is part of letting go. Alcoholism was everything to me....until it became my toxic drug. Effecting every part of my life and taking me into darkness. I think you are doing fabulous!
    Talking/writing is a great way to deal with daily sobriety. Keep on!

  15. You're doing so well ... mourning is a necessary part of that. It's important that you do that ... feel every lousy last part of it. It's cleansing.

  16. I'm with Elizabeth & Jackie, Corinne: your writing is lucid and powerful as you describe this process of mourning. Thank you for letting us walk beside you on this journey. xoxo

  17. I have been considering the "alcoholism question" for a very long time. You have no idea how timely this message is for me, even though you actually wrote it quite some time ago! I am hopeful about my own journey of sobriety - I haven't begun to walk it yet, but I want to.